Saturday, June 30, 2012

Colette Lady Grey

Last post, I wrote about a few big projects I was working on. Well, one of them is finished at long last!

It's my brand new Lady Grey coat, from Colette Patterns. It's also the first thing I have ever sewn for myself, and it's a success - woot! I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I didn't even know this pattern existed until earlier this year when my friend Karen pinned it. I had been toying with the idea of sewing for myself for ages, and decided a wrap coat might be slightly easier to fit, as my measurements are not standard. I searched for other versions of the Lady Grey coat and fell in love with it. I also found the Lady Grey sewalong over at Gertie's fabulous blog.

After a bit of deliberating I decided to buy some beautiful Marc Jacobs wool from the States. It's black with steely blue, purple and off-white dots. I first found it at Mood for $25 a yard, and after much searching found a few other suppliers, one of which was Fashion Fabrics Club which had it at $14 a yard. The postage cost as much as the wool, but it still wasn't any more expensive than I would have paid for the same yardage here in Australia.

I was terrified of stuffing up, so made a muslin. I cut a size 12 and needed to adjust the gaping lapels, and took about an inch and a half off the upper back and a little off the waist. I also lengthened the sleeves. I love the bracelet length, but I need this coat to be as practical as it is pretty, so I went for full length.

For those who aren't familiar with it, Gertie's sewalong takes the already wonderful Lady Grey pattern, and adds lots of gorgeous tailoring. To be honest, I thought a tailored garment was just a well-cut garment. Now I know better! I really enjoyed learning about how to tailor and am so happy with the end result. It was time consuming though, with hair canvas basted by hand to the front four panels (it has princess seams) and then the lapels and collar pad-stitched, also by hand. I had never heard of pad-stitching before, but it is amazing. It has given my coat such a gorgeous shape and I couldn't be happier. It really is like magic watching the lapels and collar form, as Gertie says, under your fingertips.

All in all I spent far more on this coat than I would have on a shop-bought coat. The hair canvas cost an eye-watering $25/metre and after falling in love with the silk thread used for the padstitching, I splurged and bought enough to sew the entire coat. So it was an expensive coat, but it's made to measure and tailored by hand - I certainly can't get that on the cheap around here. I also got so much satisfaction out of seeing it come together, and am really proud of the coat.

I learnt so much during this experience. Bound buttonholes, pattern fitting, tailoring and more. It's given me the confidence to try to make a few more things for myself and reignited my love for sewing.

From the side.

I really wanted to add a label, and when I found this one at Sublime Stitches I knew I had to have it! You can also see a glimpse of the lining I used too - a lilac to coordinate with the wool.

The coat only has two buttons, and one of them is hidden. I love these buttons I found by chance - they have a feathered pattern in a steel blue on black, to match the wool.

Not the best photo (it was taken as I was attaching the coat to the lining) but here is some of the tailoring I learnt from Gertie's blog. The pad-stitching took forever but was actually pretty enjoyable to sew, and the effect is amazing.It's almost a shame that all those pretty stitches are hidden inside the coat!